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Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.
Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. No freebies or add-ons. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. he replies. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. And based on the way most people view food shopping. I won't accept them. He says to the salesman. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. Without blinking an eyelash now. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. All this. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. The salesman looks stunned. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. I'm buying from you". whether it is competitive or not. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. of course you're correct.
and happy savings! 5 . But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. I'm being facetious. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. perhaps. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . "I'm not poor!" they insist.000 or more per year. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. like clockwork. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. You see.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. Read. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40.000 or $50.receipts. that you’re NOT that guy. Sure. enjoy. week in and week out. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. it's pretty much a one-time investment.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. and I really can show you how to do it. And at the end of the day. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. you probably don't need to clip coupons. If so. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". and you’ll get the answer immediately. as if they couldn't use an extra $1.
refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime.Randall Putala Author P. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.S. 6 . If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.
highest price. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. LET ME COMPARE. I'll be out of here in no time. I'd like to save money. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. 5. or position on the shelf ). advertising campaign. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. Time is not as important to me as saving money. AND I'M CHOOSY. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. 2. 3. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. I'M IN A HURRY. I'M LOST. and pick the cheapest one. AND I'M FRUGAL. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. 4. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. I'M IN A HURRY. I've got a family to feed. I'M CHOOSY. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. I'M IN A HURRY. I'm too busy. OUT OF MY WAY. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use.
The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It’s very important. please read it again. It's that simple. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. and you'll lower your food costs.eating better and healthier food than theirs. Change your mindset. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. It's that simple. So do it. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. Now. Here. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. and you will lower your food costs. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. 8 . because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. Change your mindset. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain.
they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. You have items that you never seem to run out of. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. Conversely. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. If this is the case. b.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. c. Unhappy campers. or pantry months after the fact. Everyone is different. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. High grocery expenses. Uneaten goods. freezer. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. you may not be making smart choices for your family. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. and everyone likes different things from time to time. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. Insufficient food supply. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. Keep your receipts for one month. 3. d. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. 4. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. "there's nothing to eat".
and your budget will 10 . but few people notice it. keep reading. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. Steer yourself back to the basics. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. Sticker shock. so you put it in your cart. (More on this subject later in the book. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. Excessive leftovers. It just looked good at the time. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. 6. You're cooking the wrong stuff. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. 5. b.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. Binge snacking. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. so you did. But something made you want to take that action. You're cooking too much food. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. Your cooking proportions are too large. 7. item by item.
BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. 11 . it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. pre-cooked. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life.thank you for it. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. expensive meals. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. prebagged. and even the signs in the grocery store. the print ads in your magazines. or find a way to buy more for less. you'll all be happier and healthier.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. START SMALL. Make a simple list by category. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. 8 minutes. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned.these side dishes carefully. REALLY. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. really. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. If this works. until you get it absolutely right. all is not lost. 4. small steps to organize your shopping trips. change it to 7 minutes. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. For example. As you master each new step. "5 breakfast items". great. If you need more time. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. Rest assured. etc. If you are this type of shopper. though. like "3 meat items". You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. I'M LOST. Next. etc. Containment is the key word here. and write down notes for this. Take really. write down the steps: i. Keep it simple. b. that will turn out perfectly. you may a problem. and stop there. Wet the potato with running water iii. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. clip them out and put them in an envelope. Cook for 5 minutes on high. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. closely followed by completion of your assigned task.
while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons.500 or more per year on groceries. book. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. down. I'M IN A HURRY.500 – $3. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level.000 – $3. you're ready for the master class. down. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. Some items will be necessities. AND I'M CHEAP. down. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. you CAN do better if you just review your options. and then doing those same things next time you cook. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'.000 raise at work. It just takes practice to know what works. chock full of the finest foods in the store. the more you'll save. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. Get cheap.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. $60. and stay cheap. The guy in line behind you. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . 5.
BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. Learn what works for you. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. 18 . Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. Some items will be necessities. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. you CAN do better if you just review your options. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. If you plan these side dishes carefully. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. To save money. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and you won't always have a coupon for it. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. is because cooking is really very simple. and stay cheap. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make.with better recipes. The reason it looks so effortless to them. but you can rely on your own notes. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total.
Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. If you still don’t understand the connection. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. and what they are doing to your health. Step 5 – Affirm. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. Step 6 – Reconsider. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy.. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. It can be a big help.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. Step 4 – Reflect. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. you've got to be prepared to try new things. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. If you do what you've always done. Seriously.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Once you can visualize the change you want. Stand by this realization. you tend to get what you've always gotten. seek professional counseling. Write down how they make you feel. your mental attitude. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Step 2 – Believe. If you're currently paying $200 per week. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. Make yourself accept it. Step 3 – Be Flexible. visualize yourself paying $100.. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. and your weight.
Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. Step 7 – Be Humble. Humilty is the stepstone of success. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter.” Find a substitute. Now comes the fun part. your refrigerator and your freezer. “STOP!” Reset your mind. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Step 10 – Reject. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. and enter a new instruction.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. and if you like it – keep buying it.regarding your shopping habits. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. for the NEW me. turn around. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. and 'do the aisle again. tofu instead of cheese. 20 . put the guilty items back on the shelf. your mind may think of it as a reward. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. buy it. You may be thinking. “I’ve always eaten this. Take it slow. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. items that cost too much. I’ve always been able to afford it. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. There's a lot for you to learn about food. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. Step 8 – Record. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. you must mentally shout out.
get 'cash back' equal to that amount. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. 21 . If you're very diligent. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. and put it in a bank savings account immediately.Step 12 – Rejoice.
if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. yes – but not poor. and it's your lucky day. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. save.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. She's not exactly poor… Smart. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. and more will be given to you over time. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. I feel disappointed. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. They are always looking for ways to save. it doesn't matter. In fact. 23 . on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. Love them or hate them. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. Would you turn it down. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. When I go shopping.
. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. and you really do work every moment of every day. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. so take one. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. money to blow on a super vacation. let alone shopping for yourself. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket.. Benjamin Franklin said it. "A penny saved is a penny earned". You probably deserve a break. When you arrive at this conclusion. And now his picture is on the $100 bill.. let alone using coupons. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour.000 or $3. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending.. you're very lucky. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. not me.000 per year. a new hot tub.! 24 . be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. using coupons is a waste of time. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2.
It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. Trust me. View it however you like. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. Some are also for 25 . Yes. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. even if you use coupons. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. along with the other techniques described in this book. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. and it really does stay in your bank account. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. you write a check for $75. That is a fact. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. If you use coupons effectively. you're written in that creditor's shylock book.” Okay. Instead. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. “Oh. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. no” you might say. That's real money. great. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. It's not rocket science.
when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand.products that are overpriced. However. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . But guess what? If you don't want it. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. need and use every day. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. Smart money management never goes out of style. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image... MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. Then. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. don't need it. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style.. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World.. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. and don't use coupons. or don't like it. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. you probably don't need to use coupons. You've been buying your favorites your whole life.
etc. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. In fact. Coupons help spur the economy. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. using their coupon to buy their product. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. the more products they sell. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. They want people to try their products. enjoy the products. regardless of who redeems them. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. they wouldn't issue the coupons. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. the higher the coupon redemption rate. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. and that can be very hard to overcome. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items.compound into larger debt over time. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. an affluent shopper. super-premium items. They must replenish the sold product. higher-priced items. not theirs. and become repeat customers. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households.
REALITY: Again. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable.. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. the next time. This is the manufacturer's goal. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. packaging.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. So guess what: once you try the product. They develop new lines of products. And when you go to buy the product again. etc. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. and on and on for years. new combinations.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. because they believe that consumers will like them. new flavors. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. they're actually very smart.
Case closed. couponing is not for you. Do you have the very latest clothing. and save some for your own use. you're right: you don't need to save money. Examples: 1.000 per year. and couponing is a step in the right direction. At least not the same tomorrow as today. Or. give some to charity. or simply don't care about money. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. home furnishings.MYTH 9: I make a good living. nickels. REALITY: If you do it right. electronics. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. 3. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. 2. 4. if you have some other method to earn $1. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do.000 per year. If you are independently wealthy. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. it can be fun. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. and a real waste of time.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus.? If not. $2. you need to save more money.000. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. etc. Save your pennies. cars. You’ll feel better about it. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. you've just lost your vote.
you're very lucky. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. Yes. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day.. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. And for you. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it.. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. Save money on groceries. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. couponing takes a little effort. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . because that is what made them rich. Yes. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour.you enjoy . Conversely. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. But the ends justify the means. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. you should pursue it.
They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. you'll feel better.. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. they're actually very. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. very smart. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. And for you. They don’t worry about overcharging you. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. and so will they. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life.larger debt over time. with the best items in their store. give it to a real charity. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. If you really don't need to save money. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. They want you in their store. in fact. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. and that can be very hard to overcome. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today.. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. 31 .
Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. then WORK YOUR PLAN. (e. This is the creation of a PLAN.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. Live them. you WILL save money. and the many rules. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. Learn them. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. 1. up to 50¢. STRATEGY. etc. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. 33 . Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. If not. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. 3. This is the actual implementation of the plan. up to 60¢. up to 99¢. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season.g. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked.e. b. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. i. leave immediately and find a store that does. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. TACTICS. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. 20 coupon maximum per visit). 2. there are two parts to any battle plan: a.
The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. If your coupon is expired. Plus. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8.) 6. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon.4. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . the scanner will catch it instantly. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. 7. or must you buy 2?) 5. (can you buy only 1. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. HYPER VALUES. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. Coupons are negotiable documents. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. especially to the grocer who accepts them. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. flavors and variations of the product. even low-value coupons. They have real value. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. e. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. Most coupons are brand specific. CLIP EVERYTHING.g. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want.
But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. If they accept a coupon that is expired. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st.) As I stated above. From that point on. 35 . At some point near the middle of the promotion. Do it once too often. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. they have no chance of getting credit for it.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager.. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. Over the next few weeks. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. they start to appear in stores.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor.. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak.
and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. If you were a product manager at the food company. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. or offered as a 'BOGO'. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. In areas with only marginal competition. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. 36 . you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. This is when many products are put on special. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. In areas with high competition. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. especially senior citizens and families with children.
But combined with the sale price. The most common level you will find is 50¢. BEFORE you shop there.59 $2. It’s true. IF the store has the item on sale. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons.19 As you can see. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. More about this later. Store sale. Again.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. This will take a little practice. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. You may want to use a lower-value coupon.2. but it will pay off big 37 . the net savings effect is multiplied. b. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. If you don't. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. When you view the face value of your store coupons.55 $1.00 $. Doubling value of the coupon. which could net out a greater discount for you. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling.29 on sale $1.
you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price.time in terms of savings. the lower the coupon value. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. EXPIRATION DATE.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. Alternatively. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. the greater the net discount. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. Sometimes. 38 . This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. 2. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. OVERSTOCK.
and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. By advertising a number of BOGO deals.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. and they'll be glad to get it. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. do not pass up the BOGO deal. It is your right to know. This is not always the case. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. Many times they are store-specific. they can buy just one and pay half the price. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. LOSS LEADER. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . and in many stores it is NEVER the case. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future.3. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. If you were going to buy the item anyway. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. 4. If you honestly don't need two of an item. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. However. someone can use the second item. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers.
And 40 .PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal.75 for one box of cereal. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens.00. for a grand total savings of $4.50. You have now saved $2.00. 21 oz. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. 50¢ off on one box purchase.25 each. regular price $3. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product.75. $2. $1. regular price $3.25 per box of cereal.50.50.50 for two boxes of cereal. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. Box. get one free. Buy one at $3. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. You have now saved $2. 50¢ off on one box purchase. 21 oz. Box. To keep senior customers happy.
It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. it's the thrill of the hunt.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. Plus. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. and they deserve the sale it generates. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. But as you can see in our example. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. OR. systematic couponing. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. For example.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. If you follow my techniques for regular. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands.69 $1. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations.29 50¢ $1. After all. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. over and over again. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. You might like the brands you haven't tried. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. not Brand B or Brand C. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. a feeling of euphoria and power. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. and not clip it. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week.
sign placement. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". "Singles". This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs.00 extra for the same amount of meat. because they often won't scan properly. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. The industry calls these "line extensions". or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. 42 . and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. and sign wording. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. They're great for finicky eaters. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. SIGNS LIE.99 per individual package. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product.99 for two (net cost $2. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". For example. you'd pay about $7.50 per package). but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. All four are frozen dinners.
43 . they're not so certain.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. believe what you verify before you check out. and the coupon will be authorized. "that item was on sale last week. because you must buy two of them. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. And once you've left the store. When an item rings up wrong. Check the dates first. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. i. SALES CLERKS LIE. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. especially when you know you're right. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. there is nothing you can do about it. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. But you will only be charged for one item. Do I need two of this item. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. so you will have technically purchased two. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. So don't believe what you see. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. All of a sudden. FLYERS LIE. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE).e.00 on 2". you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. but it's not on sale now. "Save $1.
package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk".000 items in the typical grocery store. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. box of our cereal.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. In other words.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask.00). bottle. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. be sure to read the fine print. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. For example. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. If in doubt. bottle. It may require a matching purchase. that is the rule. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. So you must spend $7. The same rule applies to flavors. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3.35). One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. You have to understand that there are over 10. bottle. bottle only. the store's 44 . in the example above. In most cases. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. and paying the regular price for your milk.
computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. Instead of 99¢.00.70 in doubled value for these coupons. they're marked down to 50¢.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. they offer them at 50% off.50 for the milk. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. BONUS BUYS. IT MUST BE ON SALE. In most cases. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. You never know until you try. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. You'll now be paying $4. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. typically on a 45 . or approximately $1. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. plus the cashier will take off the $1. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. you could get $1. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer.33 per box.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. use it. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
Yes. $40. I'm 50 . $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. $5. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money.e.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. the system won't work. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. You should simply spend the extra $30.e. i.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons.
Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. a hobby. Canned Goods. it can actually be illegal. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. it can be embarrassing. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted.being sarcastic. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. It's bad form. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. It's like anything else – a diet. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. I use a small wicker basket. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. and. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. if you do it knowingly. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. When you have the time. I find that it helps to set a specific time. When it's time to do my sorting. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. Then. Dairy. obviously don't clip that coupon. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results.
and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. it’s just mentally easier. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. 60. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. Add in your drive time home. and easier to stick to. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. If you follow the expert's advice. so I tend to focus on those most of all. i. Of course. If you do this. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh.e. this doesn't 52 . baked goods. It's a good thought. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. meats. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money.& Store Discount categories. Do it the same way each week. even 90 minutes. you can develop your own routine. etc. when I'm done. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. and do it all at once.. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. Of course. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. etc. Then. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. For example. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. bread & cereal is always top right. Remember. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first.
Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. MATCH. It takes a little discipline. POCKET. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start.apply to produce. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. With your dollar off. 3. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. 2. And chances are. Save the bread. right? WRONG! In this case. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. Plus. meat and frozen foods for last. and that's the place to start shopping first. 4.99. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.e. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. i. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. because Brand B is on sale for $2. $1. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. dairy products. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. you will find that 53 . SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. As an even better value proposition.99.00 off. your net cost of buying it will be $1.49. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1.00 off coupon. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. you'll pay $2. SCAN.49. When you have an appealing coupon.
I prefer the 'baby' peas. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. and used the generic-brand labels. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. Yes.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. REVIEW. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. they don't shut down the production line. they typically won't know the difference. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. You'll find that in most stores. Cook both items. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. They carry lots of 54 . Yes. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. I know. they have a great food products section. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. and serve them up in identical dishes. which go for about three times the cost of generic. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. But when they're cooked and on your table. At my local dollar store. They change the labels! If you doubt this. And frankly. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. Buy two cans of an identical item. I can assure you. Most people are reactive shoppers. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand.
If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. But if you try them. POCKET the coupon. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. it tastes just like the leading brand.. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. chunky soup. for example. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. home-style soup. flavor. Last but not the least. By this. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. One top brand sells regular soup. In fact. etc. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . but in some cases it is. Most of the biggest. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. When you taste the sauce. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. Take soup. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. some of them will be downright awful. This may seem like a really dumb step. Check the brand name. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. but it's actually very important. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. size. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. POCKET. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. MATCH. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. kitchen select soup. as well as the expiration date.condiments and sauces. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product.
the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. you will systematically save money. and putting them all in one safe secure place. you can't REDEEM them. they won't be redeemed.when you are buying your groceries. but that's just a personal preference. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. Create your own system or use mine. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. but now it's gone. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . Again. Again. During the course of my shopping trip. Just make sure you have a true system. I use my left pocket. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. If you do things the same way each week. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. and follow it like clockwork. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. And it WILL add up over time. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. on every shopping trip. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. if I find that I have an expired coupon. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use.
If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s).be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. once you leave the store. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money.. and you'll get better at them day after day. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. Do things the same way every time. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. similarly. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. Remember. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. In other words. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice.. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run.
chances are there is one somewhere in your office. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. Now. too. Coupon Litmus Test'.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries.* (Hey wait. Step 2.!) Step 3. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores.Chapter 8: The Currency vs.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. I don’t waste REAL money. Step 5. (Feels good. Step 4. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse.S. Wake up and smell the mocha java. Turn the shredder on... Okay. *NOTE: Destruction of U. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. Locate a paper shredder. and one by a food manufacturer. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. Step 1. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person.S. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. people! 59 . currency is illegal. Do not actually implement this test.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. and for shock value. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. Mint. try taking the 'Currency vs. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. that’s REAL money we’re talking about.
Some people say.59 for it. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. store sells single item for half the price. Then. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. When you think you're getting a $3. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. you're throwing away cash. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. It's all just part of the process. 60 . but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. I sometimes get in a hurry.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. If this is your situation. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. and to be perfectly honest with you. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. coupon in hand.
Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. You join the club. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. You must join every club. SHOP. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. 4. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. When you go to check out. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. In most stores. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. and B. with a price. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. SCAN. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. 2. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. All of these items feature a barcode. the regular price. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. Often. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. As any astute shopper knows. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. the club member's price. They will typically show two prices: A. 3.Chapter 9: Clubs. Here's how these clubs work: 1. JOIN. GET ANALYZED.
The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. For example. let's say that your household income is between $75. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. so they make the most money off of you.000 and $80. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. '2 for $3.information is not extremely valuable by itself. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. Of course.99'. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. i. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. "Big Brother" is alive and well. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves.000. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level.19. You are a powerhouse consumer. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. when the normal price of a single item is $2. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 .e. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. But as a member of a specific demographic group. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share.
in infinite detail. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. too. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. You tell them your name. PRODUCT CODE. 3.will pay any cost for a particular item. Welcome to the Maze. although they will. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. children's age. REGISTRATION. street address. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. etc. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. Every item in the store carries a product code. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. etc. The computer knows what every item is. Guess what product that code 63 . you have to fill out a registration form. marital status. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. As a club member. You need to join them. they are in essence telling the store manager. slightly more sinister. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. Now. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). you can see it below the barcode on the package. you're not too far off the mark. CLUB MEMBER CODE. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. 2. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. let's look at how this happens: 1.
1 bottles per month. NO. In fact. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. Scary stuff. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. in a word. SHARED DATA. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. and what you buy. packaged it. where you live. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. They can save a year or more of expensive research time.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. The computer knows who you are. The information saves them time. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data.represents? It's YOU. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. The ultimate solution being. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. 4. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. but prefer the name brand variety. Why would they do this to you. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well.4 bottle level dropped to 0. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. and sold it for years. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. no. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. the top 1/10th of that 64 . does it? No. shipped it.6 that month. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. They've picked it. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money.
So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. So the kids are happy. but the big family-size boxes. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. but she's doing alright. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. After all. because she's buying 4. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. they can use the same technique to influence the 15.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. 5.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. ZERO 65 .7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. if only she would try them. Based on sheer numbers. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. Betty doesn't make a huge income. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. not just the wealthiest households.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk.pyramid is the affluent markets. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. You're part of a larger consumer group. To see how this works.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. But in my book. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. 69 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. thank you. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. they are in essence telling the store manager. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. the bargains are well worth it. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. you "don't have time" to save money. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. and they will continue to do it in the future. for every item in the store. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. every day. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price.
BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. or a P. Box. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. You'll get more offers and better values over time. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. not just the wealthiest households. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. HDTV sets. Of course. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. cell phones and other high-ticket items. The sooner you start the process. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. the more interest you will attract from food marketers.O. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. you'll get the card immediately. If you learn how to play their game. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. get a card at the grocery store in that area. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. But coupons are coming your way. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. 70 . The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address.
What is a rebate club? Simply put. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. It's not always true. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. hair coloring. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. etc. If you visit 3 stores a month. people are definitely creatures of habit. toupee wax.800 a year. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. even if you don't normally shop there. hard-working youth of America. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. My record on free items is $62 in one month. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. when they're 71 . These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. this one technique alone could save you over $1. When it comes to pharmacies. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. it's the seniors.
In other words. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. but they don't want people buying it just because of that.99 item. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. Be sure to process your . Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. $2. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer.00. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book.00 rebate on a $2. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. it's really free. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. Others will be $1. but they only tell you this in the fine print. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month.00 off the purchase price of the item. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. Apparently. 2. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. You have to check these carefully. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. i.00 or $3. a $7. REVIEW THE OFFERS. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. CHECK THE OFFER DATES.e.) 3.99 rebate for buying it. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. In most drug stores. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. 72 4.
Read the fine print. 7. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. 6. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. 5. exactly the way they say it. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. or they will refuse it. What you DON'T want to do is say. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. The retailers call this "breakage". Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. you'll have proof of mailing it in. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. For most clubs.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. which is the next critical point. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. if you haven't gotten your rebate. After a few months. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate.
This may seem like a lot of work. 9. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. Plus. Plus. CASH SECOND. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. Using my photocopies. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. it's good money management. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check.within the proper timeframe. use it first when making purchases at the store. rather than have them issue you a check. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. then pay any remaining balance with cash. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. and you can't turn it in for cash. It may seem trivial. 8. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . So always use the credit before using real cash. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. Proving this would be difficult.
00 off coupons on several others. If you are really cash-strapped. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. (No big deal here. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. The Most Amazing.days while your rebate form is being processed. The headline read. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. if you do it right.) 75 . then. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. So I could easily get a total of $8. and $1. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. Sorry – there is no way around this one.00 off. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. You only have to do this once. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo." In checking the other coupons. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. when the rebate check arrives. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. Then. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. that may be a little bit exaggerated. Why is it. however: • No Doubling. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. Well. I found a $2. In most grocery stores. Alarms will go off.
If you visit 3 stores a month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. When the drug store puts out savings like this.• No Price Reductions. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 .800 a year. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. even if you don't normally shop there. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. All that said. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. however. this one technique alone could save you over $1. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. at the same time. Saving $8.
2. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. assume that their 77 . read it. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. Okay. so this one is obvious. In this case. READ THE FINE PRINT.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. 1. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product.50 per item purchased. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. circling each of the ten on the receipt. Also.
canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2. yogurt drinks. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time.49 $2.30) $0.09 $1. c.00 ($13.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.09 $3.80 (40¢ coupon) $0. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.00) .39 $11. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.50 $0. they're also on sale quite frequently.78 $0.89 $2.50 $0. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.30 ($5.89 $3. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.01) $0.50 $0. To get the maximum value for your effort.39 $1.50 $1. The soup line is already heavily couponed.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.00 (50¢ coupon) $0. 2) $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.99 FINAL COST $24. In one example.30) $0. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.50 - $2.50 $0.78 Quantity 2 ($0. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1. kids' fruit snacks.59 Baking Mix $3.50 $0.89 Can Green Beans $1.39 $0. but they're not shown in the photo.09 $2.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.00 per can.00 (qty.50 $0.39 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $0. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer. 3. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands. Here's why: a.99 $1.49 $19. b.29 ($0.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.10 (55¢ coupon) $0.08 $3.59 $0.99 $1.
79 . It doesn't sound like much. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. you can save an extra $10. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. But if you DO make the effort. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort.As you can see. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck.
43 per day on meals. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. if they are to remain viable and profitable. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. or a total of $21. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. For an example.500 per year after taxes. spices. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. We're talking about flour. let's look at a fictitious family.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. – items they use each and every day. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. etc. 81 . The Jones family earns a salary of $36. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. dairy products. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. and 'brown bags' their lunches.
or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. Often. the family must do without new clothing. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. the business will fail. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. reduce or eliminate their savings. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible.43 per day. month after month. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. At a restaurant. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. month after month. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. or reduce in one of the other areas. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. cancel their insurance. 82 . At the Jones household. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit.
I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. Get larger sizes of items. They are: • BUY BIG. go see your doctor. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. some eggs. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. That's all. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. while paying less for them. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. and/or kids in school. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. I'm not a doctor. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. that's fine. 83 . telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. you know. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. Mom needs a break too. let's leave it at that. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. get some professional advice. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. Many writers have covered that territory. The big jar typically contains twice as much. household supplies and personal care items. If you want to change your diet. and put a plan in place. a social life.
Sweet Potatoes. Currently. Again.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. pork. stock up & save. 84 . (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. etc. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. beef. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. plus chopped broccoli.00. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. Stock up when items are on sale. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. if it's available now at half the cost or below. As long as you will eventually consume the item. Bulgar Wheat. • BUY BASIC. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf.00 to $6. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. Grits. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. rice and sauce.
had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. savoring the taste.One or two cooked carrots. It's sustenance. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. 85 . and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. cooked broccoli . .One or two garlic cloves. and they're not idiots.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: .One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan.Two or three cups of chopped. chopped . Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. and it's ready to serve.1/4 cup of soy sauce . The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. cook on low for about 10 minutes. it's an okay meal. because it was chopped. the garlic isn't really zingy. sliced .Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. cooked and frozen a long time ago. In some cases. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. and that's what dinnertime is all about. but nothing to rave about. either.Two or three cups of cooked rice . So overall.Various spices in minute amounts . color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. And. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive.
the lower the cost per serving. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. or the items you buy are very perishable. IF you were starting from scratch. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. and you have a coupon for them.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. Just remember this: in most cases. And in many cases. or you eat like a church mouse. If you are cooking for one. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. buying small makes sense. Is it bad stuff? Well. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. it's made of bread and spices. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you can reduce your total cost of food. 86 . and they can save you a lot of time. so they'll be on hand when you need them. the more you will lower your cost of food. many. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. resulting in better quality for less money. But for everyone / everything else. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. For example. the bigger the package.
but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. 87 . BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. the more you will lower your cost of food. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. You'll be investing a little cash now. If it's a non-perishable item. grab it. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use.
scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. Example: a potato. they're tremendous in a million different ways. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. Of course. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. of course. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. and delicious. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. Cook them. It's hard to top perfection. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. simple. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant.Chapter 14: Real Food. Example: a tomato. Don't get me started. Granted. and it's wonderful on the palate. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. fry them. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. With the majority of foods. very simple. sauté them – you can do a 1.001 things with a potato. there are exceptions to every rule. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. It rarely needs any improvement. Yes. 89 . Cook it until tender. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. whip them.
Poke holes in it with a fork. Wash it off. if you approach it correctly. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes.Okay. sour cream or plain yogurt. I don't have time to cook". Serve with salsa. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. etc. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. THIS IS BRAINWASHING.) 2. TACOS. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. bacon bits. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. and the end results are always perfect. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. BAKED POTATO. Shake some sea salt on the outside. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. I want to change the way you think about cooking. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. 90 . Take a taco shell out of the package. And yes. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. In reality. you have a valid point. Take a potato. To make my point. too. (And by the way. I have to use premade mixes. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. let alone crack open the recipe book. butter or butter substitute. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili.
you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. and it's very tasty. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners.grocerysavings. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. toss in the noodles.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. put into a bowl. and add that. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. chop up a tomato. When they're done. elbow. and heat on low for 5 minutes. so it's very cheap as well. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. 5. The secret to innovative. whatever. 91 . RAMEN NOODLES. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. (For convenience. RICE WITH VEGGIES. So vary your enhancements. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. but you only have to stir them once in a while. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. 4. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. maybe some squash and carrots. add some pepper and salt.us. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. As I mentioned above. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. and they're ready in 3 minutes. It's fast. Toss them into the finished soup. bowties. Feel free to share your favorites with friends.3. drain. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. it will be good as new.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. To top it. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. You know what these are. Not too exciting. Sure. add a little water. If you're constantly stretched for time.
healthier food every day. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. If it is. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. you can cut your food costs in half. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. try new things. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. too. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys.experiment. if you approach it correctly. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. It's hard to top perfection. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. Plus. If you start building a list of quick. 92 . and you'll eat better. you'll be saving LOTS of money.
the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. and many just about do all the work for you. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. easy to remember. If you're cooking-challenged. 93 . and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. Heck. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. This doesn't have to be expensive.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. • If you can learn to make rice. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. Set your timer to 10 minutes. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. the rest is a cakewalk. Once you've got your own system down. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. (HINT: boil a pot of water. Stir it once in a while. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. nutritious dinner. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. One cup of rice. Easy. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. two cups of water. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. cook 'em a few minutes more. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy.
Now. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. The same thing goes for carrots. squash – basically any hard vegetable. and they'll love you back all the more. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. Peel an onion. For some reason. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. stir it or tend to it in any way. so there's not a lot of clean-up. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. vegetables. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. these scare the daylights out of most people. It’s the ideal cooking helper. You don't need to watch it. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). You dump your ingredients in. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. Plus. garlic. cool for 30 minutes. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. and save. scallions. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. water and salt / pepper in the pot. kids just love rice. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. And the bowl. It's our job to keep the family happy. plug it in. PRESSURE COOKER. press the "chop" button. Plus. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . But hey. RICE COOKER. Buy a huge bag. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. and your meat will fall off the fork.
Add 3/4 cup water. turn up the heat. and your veggies are ready to serve. DEEP FRYER. cauliflower. I like to remove them. 95 . and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. tender and ready-to-eat. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. top with bread crumbs. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. Mix up some tempura batter. Yes. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. But admit your vice and face your fears. Now.you've ever had. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. It's really a great appliance.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. Yes. Plus. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. They'll be fully-cooked. try this. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes.) Get over the fear. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. Close the pressure cooker. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. it's a nutritional crime.
hearty breakfast or side dish.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. is to make pancakes. 96 .) Grate an onion as well. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. Oil your griddle lightly. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. The result is a flavorful. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. The #1 use. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. This appliance is indispensable in my household. and you don’t skin your knuckles. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. Plus. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. of course.
Plus.There's no time to cook.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. . Again. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family.I'm too busy to shop. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. For everyone else. and the way you prepare your meals. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. . you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. consider the alternative answers. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . – There's no time to cook. Now. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation.I hate to cook. add the glop. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. and you 97 . – I'm too busy to shop. . Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. Then. heat the glop and dish it up.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. the recipes you use (or don't use).
To avoid cooking. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. because it's all that they know. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. with almost no additional 98 . This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. – I hate to cook. in the interest of saving time. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. though. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. Take it one step at a time. and enjoy it a whole lot more. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. because it's what they've always eaten. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. enjoy better meals. They eat what they're given. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. they don't expect anything better. in this case). Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. add a few pennies worth of spices. You might be surprised on this one.can save time. simple meals that your family will love. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. I call this QUICK COOKING. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. and lower your food costs. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. It will make your meals extra special.
uncooked Oatmeal . it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. delicious recipes.canned Fresh broccoli. cheese. a vegan or a Venutian. etc. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. beans. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. For the sake of this discussion. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. The chef (or food manager. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. etc. carrots. dry potato flakes. any fresh vegetable Boneless. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat.large drum. pull out a pan.fresh potato wedges.investment of your time. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients.dry Potatoes . in the case of packaged foods). starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. whatever you choose to cook. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. With just a few minutes of planning. and how you're doing it. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. turn on the stove. Tomatoes . skinless chicken breasts Pasta . frozen or tube biscuit dough. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. Okay. rip open a bag. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting.
The way you plan your menus. what's cheapest / freshest). To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. b. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. having them accessible. The best way for YOU to cook. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. The way you buy these items. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. even if 100 . Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. Determine what you have to work with first (i. (more about this later). Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. store. let's look at: a. c. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs.e. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget.
e. with almost no additional investment of your time. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. Determine what you have to work with first (i. simple meals that your family will love. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. you CAN learn to quick fast. 101 . what's cheapest / freshest).you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult.
then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. tonight's special will be flounder. But that doesn't mean people will pay. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. Think of your own dining experiences. If shrimp is on sale. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . You may wonder why the chefs use this method. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. When an item is in abundance. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. the fresh seafood market. How to Cook Delicious. or the wholesale meat market. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. technically they can. It may be the farmer's market. tonight's special will be shrimp.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. Surely. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish.
you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. For families on the go.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. Try it.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. i. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. For egg fu yung. saffron or other spices. Let it steam for a few minutes. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. 2 parts water. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. Sounds pretty easy. soy sauce. 2 parts water (or milk. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. chicken bouillon. and vegetables. Microwave for about 3 minutes.e. For fried rice. To reheat. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. if you like it richer. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. just add a little water. beef. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. Recipes. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. Add a splash of teriyaki. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). If your meals are more infrequent. in a matter of minutes. nothing could be simpler. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. 104 . huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. cover and heat. sashimi (imitation crab). and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. Worcestershire sauce. then add your other ingredients.
and they learned many different recipes to add variety. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. If you're careful about what you put on them. Add cheese. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. Or. they can be a healthy choice too. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. Recipes: Again. full of fiber. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. hot sauce. bacon bits. etc.. Again. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. They'll only keep for a few days. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. for variety. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. They're fat free. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. sour cream. etc.. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. cooked broccoli. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. mashed. to make a tasty meal. of course…). slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. bake. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. etc. bag. chopped scallions.00 or $2. These additives have 105 . Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. Add a little cheese. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. Here are a few ideas. and tasty. Then. You can boil.50 for a 5-lb. Dinner: Serve them baked.
or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. But for busy people they can be an excellent. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). In the south. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. The Irish knew this centuries ago. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. and many ethnic foods from around the world. vegetarian cooking. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. Yes. Plus. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 .almost no fat or calories. You're eliminating all of the additives. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. more food volume. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. In the summer. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy.
a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. the more taste it will have. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. buy them. feel better. and other serious diseases. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. beets. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. carrots. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. the lighter the seasoning the better. and your family will begin to eat healthier. and enjoy meals more. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. and you'll probably pay less. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. unique taste and nutrients. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest.than the jars of sauce. cover with plastic wrap. strap a rubber band around the dish. heart disease. potatoes. put the dish in a microwave. fast cook as described above. add a little water. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. tastiest items you can buy in a store. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 .
108 . One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. . . try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. especially when they're 3/$1.Put into a big pot. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. If you're a bacon lover. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. the bacon bits are a bargain.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. as appropriate. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. (Yes. Okay. . Normally. you can always use regular butter or margarine. . as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. Of course.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. While most of their spices are about 95% salt.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. The recipe is extremely simple: . This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. with some water and simple spices. If you don't like this.
Also. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. SLOWLY add 109 . If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. To reheat.) • For meat dishes. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. sour cream. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. add some white or red wine to the dish. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). etc. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. you can buy full-price fresh veggies.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. pork or lamb. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft.) . The best time to do this is before you cook the food. margarine. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. To thicken. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. or freezing some for later. but if you have cubed beef. add a little milk. • For a cream sauce.Serve and enjoy. • For a little European flair. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. Of course. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo.. then add some flour and spices to form a paste.
I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. water. • To stretch your soup / stew. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. Often. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. just prior to serving.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. You can also make a paste out of flour. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. if 110 . DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up.00. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. salt and a little baking powder. and excite your family's taste buds. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home.
Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Colby. Yes. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. Swiss.00 each. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. you can grate Monterrey Jack. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Sure. you can buy them while they are on sale. so get the bargains whenever you can. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. and you can really save. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk.79. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American.you don't have a food processor at home. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. all pork comes from a pig. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. Then. Prices these days can change from week to week. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. using a food processor with a grater blade. As long as you have a method of storing these items. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like.
into excellent. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. It's messy. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook.Skin on Boneless Breasts . the less you will pay. enjoyable meals. Bone-in Chicken Sections. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. Often. etc. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. Or. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. if you're willing to rebag them. The higher up this chain you buy. flavorful. thigh sections. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. with all drumsticks. From lowest to highest price. breasts with wings attached. the lower down the chain you buy. It's all in the cooking process. But the difference in cost can be significant.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . Boneless Breasts . etc. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. all wings. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. it takes time. 112 .Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. but this is simply not practical for many people. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. the higher the price you pay. all bonein breast sections. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. including drumsticks.
2. Replace the roast. If you don't have a pressure cooker. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. onions.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. 3. etc. celery. I add some carrots. and surround with cleaned. and bake for about 15 minutes. which you like. just buy what you prefer. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. potatoes that I have cooked separately. the slower it needs to be cooked. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. For example. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . carrots. and it will please a huge. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. salt and shortening). and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. With a pressure cooker. and look for the best value you can. onions. hungry crowd. it comes with your pressure cooker.
I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. let the pressure go down naturally. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. Add about 2 cups of water. Turn the heat off. the more tender your beef will be. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. Regarding chopped or ground beef. If you want to serve your family hot. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. so there's no need to worry about your health. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. If you can't wait. 7. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . and it will always come out great. 4. The longer you let the pot sit. but leave the cooker on the burner. 6. salt and pepper. 8. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. 5. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. I like to add chopped garlic. drain it well after cooking. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. This way it will tenderize better. And if you don't drain away all the fat. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. which will be very evident when you cook it. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately.like a red sauce. If you can. and you will have an incredibly tender roast.
potatoes or other vegetables. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. you can make a better sauce 115 . And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. Variety is the spice of life.the higher-priced cuts. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. noodles. the core element is one or more vegetables. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. For vegetarians. If you family is bored with the food you cook. rice. the secondary element is rice or other grains. MARINARA SAUCE. beef. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. healthy and flavorful meals. As mentioned earlier. the secondary element is rice. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. Once you've mastered these sauces. meats. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. Here are some very simple. etc. potatoes. You could buy pre-made sauces. pork or lamb. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve.). but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. if you're serving single portions. Then. For meat-eaters. If you are typically stressed for time. With a little resourcefulness. Or. the core element is chicken. you can keep your food costs low.
MUSHROOM SAUCE. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. To make a delicious marinara sauce. CREAM SAUCE. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. Yes. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. Top with chopped chives for color. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. but margarine will do). adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. but if your goal is to impress.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. and when they're almost done. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. and you've got a great presentation. stirring occasionally. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. For example. then serve over cooked pasta. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. If you like. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. if available). When the butter 116 . If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. but it does take extra time…). you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. If your family likes mushrooms. this will work every time. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. I find that kids like it better without any spices). purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. When they are transparent but not browned. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. start with a small carton of heavy cream. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. stirring constantly. Top with grated cheese. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. start on your sauce.
I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. stir and store. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). SOUR CREAM SAUCE. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. ideal for special occasions. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). Reduce heat to low. Simply add some parsley. Top with grated hard cheese. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). remove the seeds. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. For variety. LEMON JUICE. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. but do not boil. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. stirring constantly. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. stews and other recipes. YOGURT SAUCE. and pour it over your noodles. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. immediately take it off the stove. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. Pecorino.starts to burn. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. 1 tsp. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. PESTO. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. Parmesan. Heat through. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. etc.
but it's much better in the long run. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. Fry until wilted and pale brown. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. they serve it over chicken and lamb. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. 2 tsp. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. stirring constantly. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. This sauce is a bit exotic. 2 tsp. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. ground red pepper. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. typically found in health-food stores. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. and add salt & pepper to taste. chopped fresh ginger. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. then reheat prior to serving. vegetables or any core item combination. stirring constantly. from India).that is sure to impress. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. In India. 3 tsp. 1 tsp. broiled or 118 . Cook for 5 minutes. it will require stirring. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. but that takes extra work) over medium heat.) Serve over barbecued. In a clutch. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. on medium heat. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. ground fennel. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated cheese.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Slice 1 lb. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Cook for 10 min. ground coriander. Stir in a half cup white wine. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. served as a dipping sauce. minced very fine. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). stirring constantly. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. but once you get a craving for it. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. ground cardamom. 1 tsp.
In a small jar. then salt. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. Mix until blended. Add chopped garlic. (optional. olive oil and beat 119 . They work great. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. hot chili paste. a half tsp. warm water. salt & pepper to taste. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). vegetable. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. Worcestershire sauce). Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. Soy sauce. To make hot oil. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. finely-chopped ginger. ginger. In a small cup. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. 1 tbl. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. Start with 3 tbl. sugar. a hlaf tsp. half tsp. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. sugar. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). if desired. or more hot oil (see below). 3 tbl. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. most people prefer no MSG). Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. If you like things on the hot side. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. When using. 1 tbl. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. Soy sauce.fried chicken. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. of sugar. pepper and garlic powder to taste. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. 1 tbs. mix 1 tsp. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. 1 tsp. If you are cheap like me. Add 1 tsp. Blend the tastes. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. or your choice of core ingredient. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. HOT CHILI SAUCE. use the oil only and not the peppers.
Simmer until thickened. Whisk until blended. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. 1/4 tsp. Blend in 2 tsp. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. dried oregano and dried thyme. ketchup. 1/4 tsp. 120 . 3 tsp. a dash of hot pepper sauce. nothing beats a complex cream sauce.vigorously. and cooks very quickly. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. Add 1 tsp. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. As you can see. These are but a few of the many. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. salt. Bring to a simmer. prepared horseradish. ideal over seafood. 2 tsp. lemon juice. 3 tbsp. Add salt if desired. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. chopped green onions. In a small saucepan. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. Add to your list of sauces. For sheer elegance. Worcestershire sauce. Add 1 tsp. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. MEUNIERE SAUCE. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. 1 tsp. 1 tblsp. Louisiana hot sauce. each of cayenne pepper. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. This is also a Cajun recipe. Add 3 tsp. dry white wine. In a small cup. minced parsley. beating after each ingredient. 1 tsp. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan.
You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. so get the bargains whenever you can. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. Prices these days can change from week to week.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. The Irish knew this centuries ago. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. The higher up this chain that you buy. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. But the difference in cost can be significant. more food volume. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. the less you will pay. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. and excite your family's taste buds. as long as you have a method of storing these items. Often. If your family is bored with the food you cook. you need to buy them while they are on sale. the lower down the chain that you buy. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. the higher the price you will pay. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet.
). potatoes. 122 .can make meals new & exciting again. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. noodles. etc. you can keep your food costs low.
because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. or if you just don't like them. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. but it can also be very expensive. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. And in many cases. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. • Kids love slushees. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. Choose the storebrand. 123 . but they cost $1. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. $2. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. You can make them at home using a blender. We use the sugar-free varieties. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. some ice.50. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. and serve in a glass with ice. buy the quart.00 or more at the burger joints.
COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. Now. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. Plus. they cost about half as much. if it’s an item you buy every month. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. If you want to implement portion control. The net result: one 5 lb. but lower your total food bill. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. You know. here’s the advantage. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. you cut off a section of pouch material. 124 . Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. With one of these machines. Does it make a difference? Well. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. by weight. fill it with your food. If you are super-diligent about this. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. You'll accomplish the same goal. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. • If you give your kids snacks for school. purchase can last for a full month. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself.
and by buying big you won't be running out as often. baking soda. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. this stuff won't go bad.. It should make you feel smarter. rubbing alcohol.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself.. dishwasher soap. etc. etc. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. buy the big container and use a coupon. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. • Shop at the dollar stores. oven cleaner. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. etc. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. This same type of product. ammonia.. bathroom cleaner.. For example. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. can be made out of a combination of water. the need to clean. vinegar. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know.
but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Helping to provide a 126 . Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. Our furry friends need help. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. With this program. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. The program costs you nothing extra. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. When you see bargains like this. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week.
But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. you're not using the system correctly. Of course. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. Rather than sacrifice quality. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. what's the point? Life is too short. 127 . chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house.
consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. or if you are especially resourceful. 128 . BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. You can use plastic bags. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less.
How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. How do I know this? Recently. (techie note only. I tend to be cynical. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. but you currently use a competing brand. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day.the coupon: 1. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. but it sure appeared to me that the food . so I logged out and logged back in again. So when you encounter these 'surveys'.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. I thought it was an error. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains.” I discovered something surprising about this. Just to see what would happen. This way. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. ignore this if you find it confusing. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area.
CoolSavings.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. Here are some coupon sites to visit.com. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages.29 per box $0. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. medicine.29 total for 2 boxes) $0.65 ($1. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1.com.25 ($1. etc. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers. magazines. Eversave. On a recent visit.29 minus $0. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .
on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. gourmet food items. This site is well organized. plus a 50¢ administration fee.OnlineCoupons. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. you don’t pay an annual fee. and you get to choose by specific brand names. Thecouponclippers. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. This site requires that you pay a $7. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. it displays the specific coupons available by category.com. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. But overall. This site requires you to register with minimal information. Plus. etc. you can stock up on the specific coupon. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. Here. but you do pay for each coupon. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. Coupons. personal and cleaning products and more. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. Times. Plus.com.com. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. CentsOff. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days.. you can plan your savings over time. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item.50 fee to join. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. so you will be directed here from many other sites.A. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. There is a $99. then pay an additional $8. You can order multiples of the same coupon. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 .95 annual fee however. the Baltimore Sun. On this site. up until the expiration date of the coupon. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee.com. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L.com. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons.
rebates and regional offers posted here. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. 133 . This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values." GroceryDiscounts. however. It's like having 230. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. etc.com. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. too! Fatwallet. many leading to the sites listed above. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. MyClipper. As posted on their site. so I really can’t toot my own horn. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. The site simply links to EverSave.com. entertainment. We offer many links to the best savings of the week.com. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. Thefrugalshopper. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. Plus.us. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up.com for grocery discounts. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. There are no grocery coupons on this site. shopping. This site uses a double opt-in validation process.Troop or church social group.000 friends to ask advice from. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. This is the author’s web site. Plus. But visit it. The food industry giants monitor this site. and see what you think. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. value and guidance.S.
134 . BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. Plus. and make a new friend. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. Chances are. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. Knowledge = cash savings for you. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques.
Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. When you're not moving. Similarly. So if you see someone lurking nearby. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. be aware of where you left your cart. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". Cart Courtesy. one way or another. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. they're 135 . Shelf Surfing. Okay. It was Honore De Balzac who said. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line.
trying to make it through their shift. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. If you have a discrepancy on a price. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. like you and me. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. Plus. Plus. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). Plus. and simply walk away from the service counter. So give her a break. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. as well.probably waiting for you to move.. as will your cashier. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. And. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. if you’re wrong. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. So make your choice and move on. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. they’ll never let you live it down. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. Instead of. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. try. she’s there to help you. So give them a break. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. Cashier Courtesy. They’re just people. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. 136 . apologize. you can accept your error. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative..
Instead. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier.Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. 137 . walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer.
The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. so they don't have to search for the price. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. In other words. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. for example. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon.99. many 139 . you can purchase this same item for $3. regular price $7. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. The bad news is. Let’s say.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store.
You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value.m. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. And honestly. Now. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. they don't know any other way.m. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. 140 . You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. when you need those three or four items. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. Speed Shopping. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. "Acme Grocery". It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. In time. Make Saving a Habit. i.e. All this is great. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. Most of the time. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. you will save money on food. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. I locate the sale items. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. when you're reading the Sunday paper. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. I may find only three or four coupons. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store.
00 off coupons for their other products. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. parsley. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . it's nothing like that. Start a Soup Night. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. Once in a blue moon. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. (Is that unethical. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Okay. etc. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. Try it. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. CRAZY??? No. cilantro. If it's defective. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. thyme. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway.Never Settle for Poor Quality. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. taste horrible. actually. Turn this to your advantage. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. If you have a patio or deck. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. If you like gourmet cooking. nothing is better than fresh basil. he spit it out. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. and they all spit it out. return it to the store for a new one. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. or just not be usable. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. So it was well worth my time to complain.
If they're defective. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. It makes a terrific dinner. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. By learning how to prepare these items quickly.for ﬁ the price or less. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. 142 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. using your breadmaker. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. you will habitually save on food. get your money back or get a replacement. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well.
and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. You don't have to settle for second best.Closing Notes Well. there you have it. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. You can shop quickly and efficiently. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. regardless of how time-challenged you are. Good shopping to you all. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 .
Free Standing inserts.manufacturer's coupons CRT .Manufacturer Money + .coupon dispensed at register after purchase.for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .National Brand Qualifier 144 . HBA . Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT. address.GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies . zip code NB .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.Name.Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .Cash register tape DCRT.Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .Manufacturer MFR . usually has a red border C/O .Buy one get one free Catalina . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Hope this helps ISO .Limited.Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .National Brand NBQ .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.cents off coupon Codes .In search of LTD .
Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.) 145 .On a single item POP .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .a coupon that is good on one purchase.purchase price PPHF .No expiration date Nfp . any size OSI . etc) SWEEPS .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.Random act of kindness SF .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.specially marked packages SS .net weight OAS .sweepstakes form Tear pad . a $1 coupon = $2.Universal Product Code WSL .Store form SMP .while supplies last YMMV .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .NED .Try Me Free Triple coupon .proof of purchase PP .
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You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. and Allied Graphic Arts. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. retailers and financial institutions. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. FKB Group PLC.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. . You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. Discover the system that can save you 30% .000 to $5.40% . That’s at least $1.000 per year.
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